~by Barton Green
He’s a musician, a producer, a composer; capable of transforming the elements of music into whatever atmosphere the script demands. For three decades the instrumental skill of Paul Mills has been the invisible supporting character of every documentary, every feature film he has scored.
Just as the director controls what is seen on The Big Screen, the film’s composer helps to enhance what is felt. And with a deliberately invisible hand Paul has been instrumental in stirring the emotions of 15 features; including the critically acclaimed, ‘Woodlawn,’ and the #1 inspirational film, ‘War Room.’
Born in the panhandle of West Texas, the boy from Dumas was drawn to the piano early on. Once his fingers found those ivory keys, Mills worked his way up the ascending scales to graduate Magna Cum Laude, with a Bachelor of Music in Theory and Composition. “I had some great mentors,” Paul remembers. “Among them my music composition professor; Dr. Robert Nelson, he gave me my first taste of how music can blend with visual action…”
The ink was barely dry on his University of Houston diploma when Paul was tapped to be the on-the-road keyboardist for contemporary artists Twila Paris and Scott Wesley Brown. And in no time the musician became fascinated with the emerging 80’s innovation, the MIDI synthesizer.
When he wasn’t sitting at a keyboard, Paul’s curiosity had him hovering over the knobs and buttons of a soundboard; training his ear to the subtle frequencies of mixing music. In those early years Mills gained a wide diversity of engineering experience in local Houston recording studios and area churches. It wasn’t long before he was contributing to the recordings of inspirational artists like Joe English, Petra, Top 10 artists Air Supply, live Sammy Hagar concerts, and B.B. King’s 1984 Grammy award winning collection.
“I never want to forget where I came from, or that my gifts are God-given…”
From the beginning, Paul’s musical skills have been a combination of natural talent and disciplined experience; mixed with a subtle, humble spark of spirituality. If this musician has had an edge over others in his field it is, no doubt, that intimate element of inspiration. Not only has this quality enhanced his experienced ear, it has also informed his intuition for choosing just the right combination of voice, instrument, words and music. And that unique sense of ‘balance’ is what has propelled Paul Mills into one of the busiest and most successful music producers in Music’s capital city.